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China in the Centre: What Will It Mean for Global Education?

By Ruth Hayhoe

Chair: Li Jun

This will be a preview of my keynote for the World Congress of Comparative Education Societies in Beijing (August 2016). I will share the ideas I am working with on what it means for China to move into a central position in global educational affairs. The presentation looks at three themes: China’s obligations, given its experience of receiving educational aid in the two decades after the Cultural Revolution, the emerging literature on key dimensions of China’s educational civilization, and the shape of China’s current educational aid to Africa and SE Asia.

Ruth Hayhoe is a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.  Her professional Ruth CERC Seminarengagements in Asia included foreign expert at Fudan University (1980-1982), Head of the Cultural Section of the Canadian Embassy in Beijing (1989-1991) and Director of the Hong Kong Institute of Education (1997-2002).  Recent books include Canadian Universities in China’s Transformation: An Untold Story (2016),  China Through the Lens of Comparative Education (2015), Portraits of 21st Century Chinese Universities: In the Move to Mass Higher Education (2011) and Portraits of Influential Chinese Educators (2006). She is a longstanding Associate Member of CERC.

Time: 16.00 – 17.15

Date: Wednesday 4 May

Venue: Runme Shaw 202


Cultural Challenges Facing East Asian Higher Education

You’re cordially invited to the next CERC seminar scheduled for Thursday 14 April 2016 in room 202 of Runme Shaw Building. The seminar is entitled “Cultural Challenges Facing East Asian Higher Education” presented by Prof. Yang Rui.

Please also be informed that CERC Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held before the seminar from 12.30-13:00 to report on the activities of the Centre, and solicit ideas for its future development. Participants in the AGM will get a CIES bag for free.

Cultural Challenges Facing East Asian Higher Education

Speaker: Yang Rui

Chair: Mark Bray

Over recent decades, East Asia has made impressive progress in the scale and content of higher education. The achievement is especially remarkable when compared with other non-Western regions. A Western-style modern higher education system has been well established throughout the region. With a third of the global total investment in Research and Development, research in East Asia has also been growing rapidly.

While the achievement has been widely acknowledged, assessment of its future development is open to question. Some analysts suggest that East Asian universities are leaping ahead to challenge Western supremacy. Others feel that they will soon reach a ‘glass ceiling’. Questions remain about the true potential of East Asia’s universities and whether they can truly break the Western hegemony.

Based on the author’s intimate knowledge of East Asian societies and his longstanding professional observations, this presentation will assess the future development of East Asian higher education with recognition of the implications of its cultural roots.

YANG Rui is Professor and Associate Dean in the Faculty of Education at The University of Hong Kong. With over two and a half decades of academic career in China, Australia and Hong Kong, he has established his reputation among scholars in English and Chinese languages in the fields of comparative and international education and Chinese higher education. Bridging the theoretical thrust of comparative education and the applied nature of international education, his research interests include education policy, sociology, comparative and cross-cultural studies in education, international higher education, educational development in Chinese societies, and international politics in educational research.

Time: 13:00-14:15

Date: Thursday 14 April 2016

Venue: Runme Shaw 202

Education in Tanzania: Histories, Challenges and Policy Goals

By Joyce Kahembe

Chair: Mark Bray

This presentation focuses on education in Tanzania since Independence in 1961. The contemporary education system has roots in colonial education. Few Tanzanians received education in that system, which was designed to serve the colonial regime. After Independence, the government introduced major reforms to serve Tanzania’s social, economic and political needs. The reforms aimed to increase access to education, remove colonial authority, and link education with social and economic development to address the needs of the society.

This seminar will review the achievements and challenges over the decades. Despite reforms, Tanzania still has many characteristics of the colonial education system. Thus the presentation will discuss these historical influences, identify the obstacles to change, and consider future-oriented goals.

Joyce Kahembe is a PhD student in the HKU Faculty of Education. She attained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Dar es Salaam, and has also studied at the University of Twente, Netherlands. Before coming to HKU, she worked at the National Examination Board of Tanzania, the institution under the Ministry of Education..

Date: Tuesday 29 March 2016

Time: 14.45 – 16.00

Venue: Room 202 Runme Shaw Building

All are welcome!

Global or local identity? Nepalese students’ orientations towards learning English and Cantonese in Hong Kong

By Chura Bahadur Thapa

Chair: Mark Bray

This seminar will report on a qualitative study of the identities of 28 secondary school Nepalese students in Hong Kong schools. All participants were in English-medium classes and fluent in English, and some were also fluent in Cantonese. During the unstructured interviews and informal interactions as a form of ethnographic enquiry, participants were asked to talk about their English and Cantonese learning beliefs, their career prospects, and their English and Cantonese use inside and outside school. The participants displayed different orientations with regard to the learning of English and Cantonese, and constructed different types of identities. The seminar will include comments on government policies for minority students.

Chura Bahadur Thapa has been living in Hong Kong since 1996, and is an active member of the Nepalese community. He holds a Master’s Degree from Hong Kong Baptist University and a PGDE from the HKIEd. Before joining HKU as a research student, he was a teacher in a Chinese-medium DSS school which recruited ethnic minority students for English-medium classes.

Time: 12.45 – 14.00
Date: Friday 26 February
Venue: Runme Shaw 203

All are welcome!

CIES in Vancouver: Before-you-go Briefing and Sharing

Many academic staff and students will join the 60th anniversary conference of the Comparative & International Education Society (CIES) in Vancouver, Canada, 6-10 March 2016. This will be a special one for HKU, since Mark Bray is the President-Elect and an HKU team of students led by Nutsa Kobakhidze has a strong role in organizational matters.

The Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) is organising a pre-meeting to provide some information on:

a)      the CIES (history, mode of operation),
b)      the conference (scale, organization),
c)      Vancouver (including tourist opportunities),
d)      each other (both students and academic staff).

In addition, the session will include some tips for successful presentations and networking.

Date: Monday 22 February
Time: 12.45-14.00
Place: Runme Shaw 202

We look forward to seeing you there.


Education in Eritrea: Features, Challenges and Policy Goals

By Tedros Sium Mengesha

Chair: Mark Bray

Contemporary African education systems have their roots in colonial eras. Though it would be naïve to say that colonialism had no merits at all, colonial education in Africa was characterised by glaring injustice and inequalities. After independence, the various liberation movements proclaimed top priority to reconstructing education to meet the needs and realities of African societies. Yet, the realities remain far from the pioneering ambitions.

Focusing on education in Eritrea, this seminar will emphasise issues of inequality and social justice. Eritrea was an Italian colony between 1889 and 1941, was under British military administration for a decade, and merged with Ethiopia in 1952. The federation of Eritrea with Ethiopia was imposed against the wish of many Eritreans, and a war of liberation from Ethiopia led to Independence in 1993.

Like many other African nations which emerged from liberation wars, post-colonial Eritrea is still building an education system with a vision for reconstruction and development. Drawing on personal experiences and on empirical research for his PhD studies, Tedros Sium will highlight the features of the education system, key policy issues, and some of the constraints.

Tedros Sium Mengesha is a PhD student from Eritrea in the HKU Faculty of Education. His own schooling was organised in the bushes of armed struggle by Eritrean freedom fighters. Following Independence, he continued his education both locally and in the UK for Bachelor’s and MEd degrees. Immediately before coming to HKU, he was Director of the Human Resources Development Division in the Ministry of Education.

Date: Tuesday 12 January 2016

Time: 12.45 – 14.00

Venue: Room 202 Runme Shaw Building

All are welcome!

ECS Workshop: Global Competition and Collaboration Strategies of Research Universities in China and Russia







IMG_0451Venue: Meng Wah Complex Room 820

(inside the Faculty of Education Library, 8th Floor)

Wednesday Dec. 16, 2015

1:15 pm – Welcoming word from Prof. Mark Bray and Dr. Anatoly Oleksiyenko

1:30 pm – 2:15 pm – Dr. Li Jun

2:15 pm – 3:00 pm – Dr. Shen Wenqin

3:00 pm – 3:45 pm – Dr. Zha Qiang

4:00 pm – 4:45 pm – Dr. Li Aisi

4:45 pm – 5:30 pm – Dr. Ma Jinyuan

5:30 pm – 6:15 pm – Dr. Zhen Gaoming

Thursday Dec. 17, 2015

9:30 am – 10:15 am – Dr. Mark Johnson (on Skype)

10:15 am – 11:00 am – Dr. Igor Chirikov

11:00 am – 11:45 pm – Dr. Alex Kuraev

12:00 pm – 1:30 pm – Lunch at the Senior Commons Room

1:45 pm – 2:30 pm – Dr. Mikhail Lisyutkin

2:30 pm – 3:15 pm – Dr. Sergei Malinovskyi

3:15 pm – 4:00 pm – Dr. Anatoly Oleksiyenko

4:15 pm – 5:00 pm – Concluding remarks from Editors on a Follow-Up Plan

Mark Bray interviewed on CERC’s new book

In many parts of the world, students commonly attend and pay for private tutoring classes. Sometimes these extra classes are for remedial purposes, giving students additional help on content covered in mainstream school. Other times students use private tutoring to prepare for school examinations.

The phenomenon of private tutoring is diverse around the world, and researchers commonly use the term “Shadow Education” to describe it. Tutoring is considered a shadow because it often mimics the curriculum of regular schooling – as the content of the curriculum changes in regular schooling, so it changes in the shadow; and as the regular school system expands or contracts, so does the shadow system.

Professor Bray has written extensively on shadow education. His latest book, co-edited with Ora Kwo and Boris Jokić, is entitled Researching private supplementary tutoring: methodological lessons from diverse cultures.

Click here to listen to Mark Bray who speaks about researching shadow education and tips for researchers in this field.


Education and the State: Whatever Happened to National Education as a Public Good?


By Andy Green

Chair: Mark Bray

In an era which is rapidly losing the idea of education as a ‘public good,’ it is useful to remember the origins of our modern education systems, and the role of the state in their creation. Today we see a rapid marketising of education around the world, with increasing privatisation of educational services, the introduction of private sector management practices in public schools, and a growing perception of education as a private consumer good. The collective purposes of education, which animated the formation of national education systems, are being attenuated as providers view parents and students as customers, and the latter see education as a ‘positional’ good for which they must compete and, in many instances, pay.

However, just as we need to remember the key role of the state in the formation of education systems, we need to challenge some myths around educational globalization and markets. There is little evidence that neo-liberal models of education raise standards. Furthermore, the adoption of markets in education has been very uneven, and not all countries are converging around a single market model of education.

Andy Green is Professor of Comparative Social Science at the UCL Institute of Education, and Director of the ERSC Research Centre on Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies (LLAKES). His main field of research is the com-parative (historical and sociological) study of education and training systems. He has frequently worked as consultant to international bodies such as the European Commission, OECD and UNESCO, and to UK Government bodies. His works have been translated into Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. A new and extended edition of his prize-winning 1990 book was published in 2014 as Education and State Formation: Europe, East Asia and the USA. Other books in-clude Regimes of Social Cohesion: Societies and the Crisis of Globalisation, Palgrave 2011.

Date: Wednesday 18 November

Time: 12.45 – 14.00

Venue: Room 203 Runme Shaw Building

All are welcome!



Female professors in Denmark and New Zealand: Why the inequality?

By                 Dr Kirsten Locke
                    Faculty of Education and Social Work
                    The University of Auckland

In this seminar Kirsten Locke will discuss a comparative study she is undertaking in Denmark and New Zealand. The research explores the question of why there are significantly fewer female than male professors in these two countries. Both countries have pursued a project of reforming universities. Accompanying these reforms is a masculinity discourse that conceptualises ‘leaders’ as heroic change agents, with the determination, decisiveness and strategic vision to re-shape the institution in light of demands from external stakeholders. At the same time, the universities seek to address the embarrassingly low numbers of women in senior positions using strategies that are clearly marked by various versions of femininity that contradict the masculinity discourse. Initial findings from the Danish phase of the study will be presented. Themes that emerged in this phase include perceptions of leadership, the effects of neoliberal forms of university governance, and the complex challenges women face at different points of their university careers. The second phase of the study will involve senior academic woman at the eight New Zealand universities over February and March 2016. Possible directions for the New Zealand phase of research will be discussed with the audience in the context of women’s experiences in other settings such as Hong Kong.

Date: November 26, 2015 (Thursday)
Time: 1:15 – 3:00pm
Venue: Room 202, Runme Shaw Building, HKU
Discussants: Dr Sarah Aiston & Prof. Nicholas Burbules
Chair: Dr Liz Jackson

Kirsten Locke is a Lecturer in the School of Critical Studies and Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her research interests include philosophical enquiries into gendered academic career trajectories.



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